Unexpectedly, the number of existing homes sold in February last month in the US spiked and is recovering from a sharp drop in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Distressed home sales continued to remain the dominant force in the nation’s impaired housing market.

The number of homes sold rose 5.1% to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.72 million units in February up from 4.49 million annualized units. It was the largest monthly sales jump since July 2003, with first-time buyers accounting for about half of all transactions.

The jump in sales was much better than what had been  predicted; economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting existing home sales to decline to 4.45 million.

Nevertheless, the average price for a home sold was $165,400, down 15.5% from a year ago.

Related articles:

Existing Home Sales Up 5.1% in February” (FoxBusiness, March 23 2009)

Existing-home sales post surprising 5.1% gain” (MSNBC, March 23 2009)

U.S. Economy: Home Resales Unexpectedly Increased in February” (Bloomberg, March 23, 2009)

Newport: February home sales rise not a hopeful sign” (MarketWatch, March 23 2009)

Existing home sales spike 5%” (CNNMoney, March 23 2009)

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